Identifying sin and scriptural error is not judging or being judgmental. Sometimes when Christians address sin such as non scriptural divorce and homosexuality they are accused of being non-loving and judgmental. Such statements are only used by those that are unstable, scripturally ignorant, rebellious, deceived, or those living in sin.
To judge means to render a decision, form an opinion, and make a determination based on knowledge. People make decisions and determinations every day. They judge what they will wear, say, and do, for example. They are cautious when first meeting strangers and know from experience not everyone is trustworthy. To throw caution to the wind is not wise. Let’s review a few scriptures regarding judgment.
TRY THE SPIRITS
The Apostle John taught to try the spirits. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)
There is the Holy Spirit, human spirits, and demonic spirits. Spirits are judged according to what they say and how they act. Our measurement for truth is the written Word of God, the bible. According to the Thayer Greek Lexicon “try” is the Greek word dokimazo¯ meaning:
1.) To test, examine, prove, and scrutinize.
2.) To see whether a thing is genuine or not.
3.) To recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy.
To ignore, condone, and justify sin and sinful behavior is not biblical. To expect a Christian to overlook sin because “God will judge” is wrong. Your leader has the responsibility to feed the sheep and protect the flock from wolves, dogs, goats, foxes, false prophets, evil workers, and the deceived. (Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:29; Philippians 3:2; Matthew 25:32; 2 Timothy 4:14)
KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUITS
Jesus taught us to know people by their fruits.
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:15-23).
According to Jesus the only way to know what’s inside a person is to know them by their fruits. In other words to know a person requires looking at the fruit of their actions and life. Some trees bear fruit quickly others take more time. The only way to know a person is through fruit inspection. Again, this requires sound scriptural judgment and examination. Jesus used the word “beware” meaning to use extreme caution because some are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Wolves devour sheep. To protect you Christ taught to look for righteous fruit because “a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” For someone, anyone, to tell you not to judge protects wolves and puts you in extreme danger.